For all the mystery and intrigue surrounding Apple, the company is actually quite predictable these days. Every fall, it launches new versions of the iPhone and iPad, usually in two separate events over September and October. This year looks to be similar.
When we're just a few weeks from those announcements, information starts spilling out from Cupertino and the company's notoriously leaky Asian supply chain. Here's some of the rumor mill, so you can decide if you're interested in upgrading to Apple's latest wares.
Reports last week revealed that the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus (the most likely names anyway, going by past trends) will include Force Touch, a new input style that first debuted on the Apple Watch. Its main purpose will be to help users get to deeper parts of apps with fewer presses.
Now, we also know some more about the iPhone 6s's hardware makeup. MacRumors reports that Apple will be upgrading the aluminum used in the new iPhone to make it stronger. The current lineup uses 6000 Series aluminum and has been prone to bending—late last year, after the iPhone 6 launched, a lot of press was given to "Bendgate." A number of users reported that their iPhones would bend easily, thanks to the larger size of the devices.
The reports ultimately turned out to be pretty overblown, as it took a lot of pressure to significantly bend the device, and other smartphones with very large screens experienced similar behavior. Still, I had my personal iPhone 6 Plus replaced at the Apple Store because of a slight bend (it also had an intermittent issue with the mute switch, but the bend resulted in an instant replacement).
The new iPhone 6s is said to use a stronger 7000 Series aluminum alloy, plus it has a slight redesign to reduce weak points in the case. Tests on leaked iPhone 6s aluminum shells are said to withstand twice as much pressure as iPhone 6 shells before bending. This is good news for folks concerned about the durability of their smartphones.
We're getting many more details about the rumored 12.9-inch iPad Pro, too. Production on the device should begin next month or in October, according to the very well-connected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.
The analyst also believes that the bigger iPad will come with a Force Touch-enabled stylus. This would be a big change for Apple, which has long advocated for touch screens rather than stylus-type input devices, because it believed a finger was the best input method.
Adding more fuel to the fire, analytics firm Appsee has found a new iPad in its data on iOS devices. A new device, "iPad6,8" has appeared with a screen size of 2048 x 2732 at 264 PPI, which is much larger than any current iOS device. The larger tablet could reinvigorate slowing iPad sales and help spur the device into the workplace, where a larger screen would be especially useful.
The devices are said to run iOS 9.1, matching up with other reports that the device won't be ready when iOS 9 launches alongside the new iPhones in September. It's possible that support for the new stylus, or a USB-C data port, will require the operating system update.
The iPhones are expected to debut on September 9th, with an iPad event following sometime in October or November.
Are you in the market for a newer iPhone or larger iPad? Let us know your thoughts on Apple's new products in the comments below.
- Force Touch to be tentpole iPhone 6s feature, expected next month
- Apple pushing iPad in business as sales fall
- The iPad will be even more business-savvy when iOS 9 comes out
- Have iPad Air 2, will travel (with a few caveats)
Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.